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Days from a Different World: A Memoir of Childhood Paperback – Unabridged, 15 Sep 2006


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Days from a Different World: A Memoir of Childhood + Strange Places, Questionable People + Unreliable Sources: How the Twentieth Century was Reported
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (15 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330435620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330435628
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 610,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

He gives us an unforgettable gallery of characters... and he skilfully evokes the atmosphere of post-war London -- Betty Tadman, The Scotsman, January 7, 2006

Recollected in tranquillity, Simpson's memories and thoughts are unsentimental and perceptive. -- Rachel Redford, The Observer, 1 January 2006 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

‘I have already touched on my childhood in Strange Places, Questionable People. But the further through life I get the more I want to revisit it. I want to look at the whole of my childhood, the England I grew up in and my family. Family and country seem inextricably linked – in some ways our country is like our family: we know it extraordinarily well, yet we don’t always like it. Nevertheless, it keeps its hold on our loyalties in spite of everything else.’ This is not a mere exercise in nostalgia, rather it is a journey through the England of the late 1940s in all its shabby wonder and it will also tell the somewhat strange and often deeply painful story of John Simpson’s family. Here we meet his father and his grandmother, who is still living in the small and rather depressing south London suburb which his family had built, dominated and, finally, declined with. We meet the grandfather who drank the family money away and abandoned his wife and children and the grandfather who toured the country with a Wild West show. We learn, too, of the broken marriages and the unfulfilled lives, about the people who had died, and the lives which were just beginning. Candid, beautifully written and touching, Days from a Different World, will enchant all those who read it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jl Adcock VINE VOICE on 16 Aug. 2007
Format: Audio CD
The audiobook versions of John Simpson's books are all unmissable, but Days from a Different World is perhaps the best of the lot. Here, Simpson reveals the story of his upbringing - the turbulent relationship between his parents, what life was like in post-war Britain, and it's all put into context with some typically sharp anaylsis of what was happening in the world during that time as well.

There is something about hearing an author reading their own work that brings it to life even more memorably than seeing the printed page. Simpson's audiobooks are perfect examples of this. No-one could tell the story of his childhood other than him - and no-one could make it as real or as moving. The characters from his family, the sense of time and place, the feel of what it was like to live in a Britain that was exhausted from fighting World War 2 - it's all beautifully and vividly done. Another well-crafted piece of work from one of our most respected and experienced journalists - I urge anyone to give this a listen.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Margaret York on 10 Dec. 2005
Format: Audio CD
An interesting memoir of postwar England and childhood. Although Mr Simpson is 7 years older than me, much of what he has written about has strong memories for me. He writes honestly about a family that was interesting and sad; of parents that were totally unsuited to one another and of a child who just wanted love and happiness. As a journalist, he has detailed an interesting part of our postwar history and I hope he goes on to produce a follow-up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Casburn on 8 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read a number of John Simpson's other books which mainly detail his experiences in covering the two recent conflicts in Iraq, I found this book to a wonderful account of his early childhood years. He had a very difficult upbringing living in rented rooms with parents who separated when John was only six years old, and his account of having to choose whether he lived with his father or mother is very moving. He closes the book with an equally sensitive chapter about his late aunt, and how he spends time talking to her when she is near to death. The whole book describes living in Britain in the 40's and 50's in vivid detail, and is as accurate as David Kynaston's excellent "Austerity Britain". I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in that period.
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Format: Paperback
You're probably reading this because you've heard of John Simpson who has met everyone from Ayallatolah Khomeini to Osama Bin Laden via Mandela and Bill Clinton in the course of a long and fascinating career with the BBC.

Right?
Well, now forget all those great old Simpson tales from the "War and Politics Business"

Sit down, relax and enjoy this description of a early post-war Britain which (IMO) will never exist again in a deeply personal memoir eg. there is little doubt that Simpson's father was bisexual.

For the first time in a Simpson memoir, there is also a hint of Simpson beating himself up:
eg. the bitter words "people like me never do (come back)" when he leaves his last father's generation relative in Hospital for the ultimate time.

Not quite as intimate as footballer Tony Cascarino's autobiography "I want to write a book because I've hurt so many people", but actually not so far off.

Very moving, very powerful and very enjoyable because it is so personal.
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